Friday, November 20, 2009

Why is Stephen Harper Profiling and Stereotyping Jewish-Canadians?

The more I think about these horrendous ten per centers that the Reform Conservatives have been distributing, the angrier I get. Jewish -Canadians have been profiled and stereotyped. Why would he assume that all Jewish-Canadians support his aggressive policies?

This is horrible discrimination. Worse still, it can't even be debated in Parliament because anyone who brings up the subject risks being accused of anti-Semitism. I've never heard anything so outrageous in my life. And Peter Kent getting involved is rich. He and the B'Nai Brith are currently being sued over his little fiasco with Lesley Hughes.

We need to have an open and frank discussion, because it would appear that the Reformers are more concerned with targeting votes than doing what's best for Canada. And I can't believe that Mrs. Peacock's Kindergarten class has missed the obvious.

Anger flares in House over Tory attack flyer
No apologies for pamphlet blasting Liberals on Israel
November 20, 2009

OTTAWA–The federal Conservatives are making no apologies for painting the Liberals as anti-Jewish in the newest wave of attacks on their political rivals.

In fact, they carried on the campaign in the Commons on Thursday, even as former justice minister Irwin Cotler, a Montreal MP and human-rights expert, was formally lodging a protest over the Conservatives' bid to portray Liberals as unfriendly to Israel and Jewish voters in Canada.

"For shame," Cotler said, as he asked Commons Speaker Peter Milliken to rule against the Conservatives' use of taxpayer-financed flyers to target Liberals in ridings with significant Jewish populations. Milliken will rule at a later date.

"There have been bulk mailings not only in my riding but in ridings across this country with identifiable Jewish communities," said Cotler (Mount Royal), whose daughter has served in the Israeli military. "Those bulk mailings did not only contain false and misleading information, they contained information that was slanderous, damaging and prejudicial to the Liberal party and to the performance of each of our individual and collective duties."

The flyers accuse the Liberals of participating in the 2001 United Nations conference on racism in Durban, South Africa, which was controversial because of open anti-Semitism on display. The Conservatives also allege that Liberals support terrorist groups Hezbollah and Hamas and accuse Michael Ignatieff of being against Israel for talking about "war crimes" during the summer of 2006. (Since when are we not allowed to talk about "war crimes"?)

Pierre Poilievre, parliamentary secretary to Prime Minister Stephen Harper, stood by the accusations, saying in reply to Cotler's protest: "We as a party have been prepared to defend the positions we have taken and the decisions at which we have arrived. If the member across the way is uncomfortable with the positions that his party has taken, then I would encourage him to speak up against his party when they take those positions."

Cotler was repeatedly heckled through his remarks by Peter Kent, minister of state for foreign affairs. One of Kent's outbursts prompted an angry Ken Dryden (York Centre) – who also spoke out against the attack campaign in the Commons – to shout that Kent, a former TV anchor, should go back to reading a teleprompter.

As well, backbenchers Lois Brown (Newmarket-Aurora) and Candace Hoeppner (Portage-Lisgar) spoke in the Commons on Thursday to condemn the Liberals' approach to Israel and Jewish issues.

The attack campaign comes as an all-party coalition into anti-Semitism – founded by Cotler and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney – is holding weekly hearings on Parliament Hill. It is not clear why the Tories have chosen this issue to use as a wedge against Liberals.

Former Liberal MP Omar Alghabra, who plans to try to regain the Mississauga-Erindale seat in the next election, was also targeted in the mailout and he sent out a written condemnation of the tactic. "This irresponsible behaviour of randomly calling people anti-Semitic doesn't help the cause of combatting anti-Semitism. It is even worse when the source is a political party that is in government. Anti-Semitism is real and our society deserves an honest effort to deal with it instead of exploiting it for political gain."

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